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Winter's snow to cause Driswood Elementary to open a week late

Students will attend school at Sam Michaels Park in the interim

August 05, 2010|By RICHARD F. BELISLE

CHARLES TOWN, W.VA. -- Seven months later, temperatures are in the 90s, but last February's record snowstorms are still claiming casualties.

The brand new Driswood Elementary School on Job Corps Road, under construction for about a year, was supposed to open Aug. 23, the start of the 2010-2011 school year. Things were on schedule until the snow started to fall.

Schools Superintendent Susan K. Wall said the contractor and subcontractors worked overtime and added shifts in an unsuccessful attempt to open the nearly 50,000 square-foot building on time.

The school's 450, K-5 students will start classes there a week later, on Aug. 30. Meanwhile, school for them still begins Aug. 23 but next door at facilities at Sam Michaels Park, Wall said Thursday.

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"...it is with great disappointment that we must delay opening the doors of Driswood Elementary," Wall said in a letter to students' families.

She said school and park officials worked out a partnership whereby school buses were provided for the park's summer programs in return for use of the park's facilities for the first week of classes, Wall said.

An orientation meeting for parents and students of the new school will be held Aug. 16 in the Jefferson High School auditorium from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Students and parents will also meet their teachers and bus drivers at the session.

Buses, following their regular schedules, will drop students off at the Sam Michael's Community Center. Parents who drive will drop off their children behind the community center.

Facilities at Sam Michaels Park lend themselves to classroom use, the superintendent said.

"The gymnasium can seat 600.There are some small classrooms and a multipurpose room," she said. Weather permitting there are two outside pavilions with restrooms that can be used, she said.

The facilities at Sam Michaels Park provide the same level of security as the new school building, she said.

The new elementary school is named for the former farm it is being built on, Wall said. Land for the school was donated by B.C. Partners, developers of the nearby Breckenridge subdivision.

The new school will be mostly populated by students from T.A. Lowery, C.W. Shipley, Page Jackson and Wright Denny elementary schools, Wall said.

Construction costs run about $10 million, including $6.4 million from the West Virginia School Building Authority and $3.2 million in local impact fees.

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